ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?

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Scout

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ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« on: August 11, 2019, 09:37:39 PM »
I have been having one long, incessant panic attack--All day. The mindfulness I've been practicing tells me I'm having a long panic issue, but I don't know what to actually do about it. I've been productive--I made myself practice having fun (since having fun has been hard or impossible lately, I call it "practicing having fun," which lowers the bar). I sorted some things in my office. I drew a picture.

But the panic, oh my God, the panic.

Two minutes of a mindfulness meditation helped, but not for all that long, and I can't sit around and meditate all day. Plus, the relaxation of meditation is having its own weird consequences--like after, I freak out about how zoney I feel (if that makes sense). I think it's too much oxygen or something, so I'm trying to ease in, not do 25 minutes like that one time and I felt high as a kite for an hour after and it was actually scary.

I had such a good, actually okay day yesterday, and then there was a trigger explosion when we thought we might drive 26 hours to see my husband's family (and the friends I think of family, who I thought I might never see again since we moved far away two years ago--not one person has visited). And we ended up deciding not to go, and I think going was just an excuse for me to do what I always do, which is transform the panic I always feel into some big activity.

But I do not want to feel this way, this constant, driving panic.

What do you do?

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Tee

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 10:19:19 PM »
 :hug:. I'm not sure what to tell you.  I try to distract myself but that doesn't usually work so that well. I try to reach out to someone to help anchor me but that only helps sometimes. I wish I had more helpful ideas. :hug:

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Jazzy

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2019, 11:38:32 PM »
Hi Scout, Sorry to hear you're having a tough time with panic. It can be nasty even when it is just a brief episode, but constant panic does not sound good at all. It must be so draining. I hope you feel better and can ease out of it soon!

Do you have a standard response that helps you deal with panic normally? I guess you've tried all that stuff already. A little while back I went to the hospital because of a panic attack. I thought it was an allergic reaction of some sort, but apparently not. One thing they told me, is that as bad as I felt, I actually wasn't in any danger (It was helpful to me, but obviously I can't say this for sure about you, seek medical care if you feel you need it).

The bottom line is that even though I was at the hospital, I basically just had to wait for it to end. I would suggest talking it out with someone though. We have a crisis support center I can just walk in to and talk to someone. If you don't have that, you should at least be able to call someone. If nothing else, there should be a toll free number you can call. I find it better that way, you can blurt every thing out to this person who is there to help, and not really have to worry about any followup or consequences.

Another thing you might consider is to go to a clinic, or non emergency part of the hospital, explain the situation and ask them for a mild sedative. They will also  check your pulse, blood pressure, oxygenation levels etc. to make sure all is good breathing-wise.

Besides that, I usually go out walking for hours. I've done that since I was a teenager. If nothing else, it keeps you busy (always new surroundings) and you'll end up exhausted and sleeping at some point. If you're fit you could jug/run, but its' been a while since I've done that. Loud energetic music seems to help too for some reason. I know some people try to relax, but I guess I try to wear myself out.

Hopefully you find something that will work for you, and your feeling better soon. Take care! :)

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Scout

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2019, 11:59:37 PM »
Thanks for the responses, guys. I esp. appreciate the suggestion about walking, as that's always good--even if you don't "feel" better, you're doing something positive for yourself. I do like exercising and have not been able to for a few days.

I just went to a swing dancing class for an hour, and I'm a beginner, so I focus a lot on what I'm doing. And now I feel better all around, looser and more like my real self. So maybe that's one trick--do something else really absorbing, and maybe the panic will forget itself?

And PS, when I say panic, I don't mean five alarm freakout--more like a 3 or 4 out of 10, but it goes all day long. And, yes, it is exhausting and draining--and extremely frustrating. I'm trying to have more mindfulness and just notice the feeling, not beat myself up about it. And this is big progress--I mean, I used to just feel this way but let it run me ragged, not say, "I feel panic. I feel panic." But where I am right now, labeling does not solve it. And I don't want to just ignore it, because if that was a solution I'd be all better by now! (Ha. Ha, ha.)

One thing I'm learning is that I'm pretty intelligent--which I was never allowed to think or say before, and even now I feel funny writing it--and maybe that's part of why swing dancing (and being new at it) worked for me--I'm fairly good at or have more or less mastered all the activities I have at home, whereas the dance class focuses all my energy on paying attention to something else, then copying that brand new thing.

I'd still love to know any coping or simmering tricks other people have figured out for themselves, when bad feelings get big and you just can't place the source to resolve them. The CPTSD Workbook by Schwartz says people often have lingering somatic sensations because of trauma that occurred before they could form accessible memories, and I think that could be one of my issues. I would really, really not be surprised if my mother did awful things to me as a baby or very young child. There were lots of horrific stories she loved telling me about me being poisoned, almost drowning, and worse--all potentially deadly, always with her stepping in at the last moment as a savior and Perfect Parent instead of neglectful mother who put her small child in extreme danger. Basically, she would have been fine with me dying so she could play the martyr parent forever. If these were the stories she loved to tell me, I now wonder about the worse ones she probably held back, the ones she told no one.

All that to say, it's a comfort that these feelings are coming from somewhere real, the animal brain that remembers but doesn't have pictures or words. That it's not my fault that I feel panicky or itchy all over sometimes, that it is not a personal choice or a personal flaw.

My biggest focus is wanting to heal those feelings, and just not knowing how.

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Jazzy

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 12:19:01 AM »
Sorry if I over-reacted. You sound pretty intelligent, and like you're on a good path! :) Dancing sounds perfect, keeps your body and mind stimulated.

Thinking of this... I have a long list of bad things not to do to deal with that feeling. The only other good one I can think of right now is to try to enjoy a lot of comedy. Movies, TV shows, stand up routines, whatever. You might not even laugh once, but its good to hear everyone else laugh, and there's usually a lot of stories that are at least distracting.

So, good question. I'm looking forward to other replies. :)


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Tee

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 12:44:20 AM »
 :hug: hugs I'm there with you.  I struggle with this too. Distraction and staying busy is that best I have found and it tends to be a roller coaster, cause when I slow down things tend to crash back. It's a struggle.  Good luck writing here helps. :hug:

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Anjulie

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 09:03:36 AM »
I am glad to hear the dancing / the learning of it was helpful to you.

When I panicked a few days ago I called a number of "Arbeitskreis Leben" which is there in case of severe crisis. Talking to them helped a lot.
Second, I tried to tell myself "this is panic" and just let it be for the moment. Third, I went to a bank in the fields around our village, it is a place with view, and stayed there for a long time. As Jazzy said, it does make you tired and sleepy at some point. Of course, the walking, too, helped.

Scout, what you say about your mother sounds horrible. No wonder you have to struggle with those feelings.  :hug:

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clay1719

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2019, 07:27:40 PM »
I really understand what you're feeling. I quite often feel much the same. I'm really new to all of this but one thing that I do is ride my sons bike that I had to fix first. I'm not a very good rider as I haven't ridden in over forty years and this makes me focus on staying balanced and concentrating on keeping myself upright, anticipating the next curve, etc. I still haven't found the nerve to ride it outside of the little park we live in, but I do as many laps as needed. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I know how hard it is to fight through. My hope is that you find peace soon.

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Scout

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Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 10:27:58 PM »
Clay and others--I really wanted to share this podcast I just listened to about "why it's good to suck at something," an issue I have because I was raised to be a total A+++ perfectionist (yet, ironically, then got punished for being perfect because dear mama was jealous. anyway).

I keep thinking about how swing dancing class temporarily snapped me out of the panic and funk, and this podcast goes into some of that. I feel like I want to go back to school in another extra life and just study neurobiology, because what little I know has given me both answers about why I feel the way I feel and hope that there are ways to alter it and learn new patterns.

So, for all those bike riders around the block and jittery jitterbuggers, for everyone who hates setbacks and slipups:
(Itís Great to) Suck at Something With Karen Rinaldi
https://www.livehappy.com/podcast/it%E2%80%99s-great-suck-something-karen-rinaldi